The Importance of Being Earnest, a UBC Theatre playbill by Ernest Le Messurier, cartoonist and commercial artist, from the Ernest Le Messurier Comic Collection in the Vancouver Archives, 76-32 #121. Ernest was a graduate of the first class to officially bear the name UBC, and this poster was created for the 1919 production of the Oscar Wilde classic. The theatre program can be seen on this page. It was not without controversy, however, as an editorial that ran in the January 9, 1919 Ubyssey lambasted the theatre for its selection:

We note with more disgust than surprise that the Players’ Club has chosen for the spring play “The Importance of Being Earnest,” by Oscar Wilde. It does seem extraordinary that from the vast army of playwrights, ancient and modern, Oscar Wilde should be the one favored by the executive of this club; but it is the play itself more than its writer that meets with our disapproval. It would seem fitting indeed that an organization of University students, enjoying the broadening process of “higher education,” should endeavor to stand for the moral as well as the merely intellectual qualities in the plays with which the University name must be associated by the general public….

But was the editorial intentionally written to garner a response? A week later, a rebuttal appeared in the form of a letter to the editors:

Dear Sir: I read with amazement, mitigated by compassion, your amazing attack on the masterpiece chosen by the Players’ Club for their spring production, it seems scarcely credible that anyone who has carefully read this play could make such absurd comments. Your criticisms seem to be levelled against the character of the author and the moral attitude of the play. The first point I shall pass over as unworthy of discussion. If standard works are to be judged by the morality of their authors, then our literature would be sadly depleted. As for the second charge, I am entirely in agreement with you that the play was written primarily to amuse. If we went to acquire only “higher education” through the stage, we do not attend Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas nor any other exhilarating and piffling productions which for years have been drawing immense audiences from all ranks of life in London and New York. We even exclude the great Shakespearian comedies for fear they upset the gravity of our thoughts. I venture to say ninety per cent, of our great plays aim not at “higher education,” but at wholesome amusement, which in itself is highly beneficial. I am even inclined to think it would do you good, Mr. Editor, to relax your ponderous solemnity with an occasional laugh…

On March 13, it was reported that the “WILDE COMEDY PLAYED TO FULL HOUSE—ACTORS WELL APPLAUDED”

"The University Players, who on Saturday brought to a close their excellent ‘performance of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ did more than give the Vancouver public some delightful hpurs of amusement. They have assisted to put Oscar Wilde ‘where he belongs’— back amongst he most brilliant writers of the Victorian era." Such is the tribute paid to the Players’ Club by one of the editors of “The World.” "The Importance of Being Earnest" is not an easy play for amateurs to act; and the very creditable performances given by our students at the Avenue last week, before large audiences, shows both an aptitude for acting and a capacity for hard work on the part of the performers. The staging of the play was excellent, and no words can adequately describe the charm of the setting in the second act. The costumes were appropriate, the dresses of the ladies being both fashionable and, on the whole, well suited to their roles as English society ladies…

To put things in perspective, UBC was in its 4th year when this play was produced, and Ernest was 25 years old when he produced this poster. I think the poster clearly demonstrates that Ernest was an artistic tour de force and an early achiever! His assortment of drawings in the Vancouver Archives is one of my favourite collections in the entire Vancouver Archives! Vive Le Messurier!

The Importance of Being Earnest, a UBC Theatre playbill by Ernest Le Messurier, cartoonist and commercial artist, from the Ernest Le Messurier Comic Collection in the Vancouver Archives, 76-32 #121. Ernest was a graduate of the first class to officially bear the name UBC, and this poster was created for the 1919 production of the Oscar Wilde classic. The theatre program can be seen on this page. It was not without controversy, however, as an editorial that ran in the January 9, 1919 Ubyssey lambasted the theatre for its selection:

We note with more disgust than surprise that the Players’ Club has chosen for the spring play “The Importance of Being Earnest,” by Oscar Wilde. It does seem extraordinary that from the vast army of playwrights, ancient and modern, Oscar Wilde should be the one favored by the executive of this club; but it is the play itself more than its writer that meets with our disapproval. It would seem fitting indeed that an organization of University students, enjoying the broadening process of “higher education,” should endeavor to stand for the moral as well as the merely intellectual qualities in the plays with which the University name must be associated by the general public….

But was the editorial intentionally written to garner a response? A week later, a rebuttal appeared in the form of a letter to the editors:

Dear Sir: I read with amazement, mitigated by compassion, your amazing attack on the masterpiece chosen by the Players’ Club for their spring production, it seems scarcely credible that anyone who has carefully read this play could make such absurd comments.

Your criticisms seem to be levelled against the character of the author and the moral attitude of the play. The first point I shall pass over as unworthy of discussion. If standard works are to be judged by the morality of their authors, then our literature would be sadly depleted.

As for the second charge, I am entirely in agreement with you that the play was written primarily to amuse. If we went to acquire only “higher education” through the stage, we do not attend Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas nor any other exhilarating and piffling productions which for years have been drawing immense audiences from all ranks of life in London and New York. We even exclude the great Shakespearian comedies for fear they upset the gravity of our thoughts. I venture to say ninety per cent, of our great plays aim not at “higher education,” but at wholesome amusement, which in itself is highly beneficial. I am even inclined to think it would do you good, Mr. Editor, to relax your ponderous solemnity with an occasional laugh…

On March 13, it was reported that the “WILDE COMEDY PLAYED TO FULL HOUSE—ACTORS WELL APPLAUDED”

"The University Players, who on Saturday brought to a close their excellent ‘performance of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ did more than give the Vancouver public some delightful hpurs of amusement. They have assisted to put Oscar Wilde ‘where he belongs’— back amongst he most brilliant writers of the Victorian era."

Such is the tribute paid to the Players’ Club by one of the editors of “The World.”

"The Importance of Being Earnest" is not an easy play for amateurs to act; and the very creditable performances given by our students at the Avenue last week, before large audiences, shows both an aptitude for acting and a capacity for hard work on the part of the performers.

The staging of the play was excellent, and no words can adequately describe the charm of the setting in the second act. The costumes were appropriate, the dresses of the ladies being both fashionable and, on the whole, well suited to their roles as English society ladies…

To put things in perspective, UBC was in its 4th year when this play was produced, and Ernest was 25 years old when he produced this poster. I think the poster clearly demonstrates that Ernest was an artistic tour de force and an early achiever! His assortment of drawings in the Vancouver Archives is one of my favourite collections in the entire Vancouver Archives! Vive Le Messurier!

Birds’ Eye View of A Proposed Scheme for the University of British Columbia by architect Thomas Hooper, dating back to 1912. Looking like a scaled down version of the Vatican, Hooper’s entry was ultimately rejected in favour of a proposal submitted by Sharp and Thompson. I posted some of those drawings here previously. For more on this drawing and early UBC history, click here and here.

Hooper can take credit for a number of iconic Vancouver buildings which survive to this day; the West Wing of the Provincial Courthouse (now the Art Gallery), the BC Permanent Loan Building, the Winch Building (now part of the Sinclair Centre), and East End Public School (now Strathcona Elementary School). He’s also responsible for St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria, among numerous other notable buildings in the capital and elsewhere. From UVic:

He worked all over BC in Victoria, Vancouver, Revelstoke, Vernon, and Chilliwack focusing on large, public commissions. However, the local economy and Hooper’s business took a sharp decline in 1913. Hooper moved his practice to New York in 1915, but he lost his market again when the United States entered the war…

Along the theme of architectural proposals, renderings, and the unbuilt city, stay tuned for an exciting announcement! More info coming later this week!

Lost David Spencer Department Store Diamond Jubilee Murals Pt 2

This is a followup post on the long lost Spencer’s department store murals originally posted here. A few clarifications I need to make over last week’s post; I originally said Golden Jubilee, but in fact, it was the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation in 1927. And to be clear, David Spencer had passed away in 1920, but it was still common to refer to the department store as David Spencer Limited. To bring you up to speed, I’ve been trying to find out just what happened to these 1927 murals painted by John Innes and G.H. Southwell. The trail goes cold in December of 1948 when Spencer’s is acquired by the Timothy Eaton Company.

At this point in time, Eaton’s takes control of the Spencer’s store in Vancouver, transforming it into an Eaton’s store. In 1972, it was time for Eaton’s to move into the brand new Pacific Centre complex. Then on May 5, 1989, Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre officially opened its doors in the Spencer Building at 515 West Hastings. In search of the murals, I looked high and low, asking everyone I could think of, including the Vancouver Archives, the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, SFU, the Archives of Ontario which holds the Eaton’s archive, Gary Sim, Jaleen Grove, the VPL and more, but no one seemed to know the murals’ whereabouts.

I recently acquired from MacLeod’s Books the actual brochure that Spencer’s handed out in 1927 titled Tableaux of Canadian History and Industry. The VanArchives also has a copy. Regretfully, it contains no images of the murals, but it provides some context to the scenes and the Jubilee celebrations. It seems there was also a display of significant historical events in Canada’s history which they called the Historical Tableaux. This was executed by George Patterson, adapted from pictures by Charles W. Jefferys and Henry Sandham in Nelson’s Pictures of Canadian History. Furthermore, there was a series of Industrial Exhibits from Canadian manufacturers which were displayed in the store. It was like a mini Exposition!

I was about to give up early when I finally uncovered a significant clue! Page 76 of the book National Soul - Canadian Mural Painting, 1860s - 1930s by Marylin J. McKay states:

In 1927 John Innes (assisted by George Southwell) painted ten panels for the Vancouver department store of David Spencer (some panels destroyed, some panels in storage in the Art Gallery of the University of British Columbia). They represent logging, mining, fishing, and agriculture. One panel includes an image of Simon Fraser on the Fraser River…

So there you have it! I forgot to ask UBC! The book continues to offer clues, stating the paintings were removed from the store and donated to UBC, as noted in the Vancouver Sun on March 24, 1949. And I subsequently learned that according to the Spencer’s file at UBC, these two paintings did not survive this donation:

  • Captain Vancouver’s Ships at Nootka
  • Mackenzie Menaced by Indians at Bella Coola

Perhaps culturally, this is no great loss; early colonial depictions of First Nations are too often historically inaccurate, demeaning, and demoralizing. Had these scenes been painted by the most respected First Nations artist of the day, they certainly would have had different titles! While these murals may have a colonial naivete about them, I still feel they are a notable reflection of their time.

Since the book A National Soul was written in 2001, things have changed. Upon contacting the Belkin Art Gallery at UBC, I’ve learned that some of the 8 surviving murals were deaccessioned from their archives in August of 2008. After requesting photographs, 5 images including 4 hastily made panoramic photographs were sent documenting their poor condition. The murals were indeed a pale reflection of their former glory. The colours muted and the canvases scratched and torn, these murals certainly did not resemble the vibrant colours seen in the printed Spencer’s pamphlet from 1936. The quality of the artwork, logistical issues surrounding their storage, and the daunting task of restoration seemed too great a burden for the art gallery to maintain.

I’ve taken the roughly stitched panoramas and tried to simulate a restoration of colours to give you a slightly better indication of what the paintings may have looked like. Unfortunately, the quality of the photograph of Simon Fraser’s Canoes Descending the Fraser River is too poor to accurately correct, but at least you have some indication of the colours that cannot be seen in the black and white photograph. This painting was perhaps aesthetically the best work in the series, and it’s a shame it has not found it’s way to the art collection at SFU.

Of the four panoramic murals, the Pioneer Fishing mural and Pioneer Farming mural appear to have the same dimensions. Likewise, the Pioneer Logging and Pioneer Mining murals appear to have matching dimensions. While we may not be able to determine precisely where these paintings hung inside Spencer’s, future photographic discoveries may one day help to answer this question. I do think the Pioneer Fishing mural would have looked handsome on display somewhere in town today, even in its unrestored state. The scene clearly depicts the Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains, one of the most popular and recognizable views in the city. It did appear to have been in the best condition of the 5 photographed murals.

I had presumed that deaccession most certainly meant these paintings were now lost, but in fact, this is not the case. There was one other person I wanted to ask about these murals, and as it turns out, this was precisely the person I needed to speak with. Upon emailing Cheryle Harrison of Conserv-Arte, I’ve learned that these four pioneer murals have been entrusted to her! Cheryle was the conservator for the Southwell paintings in the B.C. Legislature and she led the restoration of the Malaspina Hotel murals created by EJ Hughes, Orville Fisher, and Paul Goranson, so there is perhaps no more qualified guardian for their future. As for the other four murals of historical scenes, I’m not quite certain where they’ve ended up. Lost, destroyed, stolen, or deaccessioned, I have yet to track them down. To review, here are the missing titles once again:

  • Captain Vancouver Exploring Burrard Inlet
  • Ships of Spain off Point Grey
  • Simon Fraser’s Canoes Descending the Fraser River
  • Trading with the Indians at Fort Victoria, 1845

And so, I must conclude my epic search for the long lost Spencer’s department store murals (for now at least). Like so many murals around the world, they have slipped into the past, nearly forgotten. The story behind these murals seems to me almost as fragile as the murals themselves. Having pieced together the details above, I take some consolation in the fact that their story has once again been told. There are so few specimens that do survive, increased awareness of the rarity and fragility of historical murals is perhaps one of the best possible outcomes of this quest. The next time you see a mural in situ, be sure to treasure it!

Lost David Spencer Department Store Golden Diamond Jubilee Murals Pt 1

This is the epic story of a forgotten art project that dates back to the time of Canada’s 50th 60th birthday celebration of Confederation, July of 1927. Allow me to briefly paint the backdrop to this story. The location: the newly renovated David Spencer department store in Vancouver (now the home of SFU Harbour Centre). The commission: a series of 10 historical paintings by two prominent artists of the day, John Innes and G.H. Southwell. What has become of these murals today? Read on…

The earliest account I have mentioning the murals at Spencer’s is the Tuesday, July 5, 1927 edition of the Vancouver Daily Province (page 22). The article gives notice of the upcoming unveiling of 10 paintings and is illustrated with this Vancouver Archives photo.

It describes how the pictures have been painted as part of Spencer’s commemoration of Canada’s Diamond Jubilee, and that they will remain on display on the main floor of the building as permanent wall decorations after the Jubilee celebrations. It’s my guess that the series of 8 historical paintings John Innes had completed a few years earlier helped to secure this commission.

This article also gives an indication of the scale of these paintings, citing four by eighteen feet (seems to be the dimensions of Captain Vancouver Exploring Burrard Inlet) as well as seven by eight feet (perhaps Simon Fraser’s Canoes Descending the Fraser River).

The day after the paintings were unveiled, another article appeared in the Vancouver Daily Province on Thursday, July 7, 1927 (page 7). This Vancouver Archives photo depicting Simon Fraser is shown hanging on the wall of the store, along with the President of UBC, the artists, and onlookers (page 24).

The Province article on page 7 goes into greater detail, indicating that the paintings hang on the east, west, and south walls of the main floor of the new building and that the 10 commissioned paintings were completed in a span of just 4 weeks! This suggests to me that the entire commission was something of a last minute afterthought, perhaps coming as late as June, 1927 with a deadline for the first week of July? No wonder John Innes recruited his studio mate G.H. Southwell to assist with the project!

About the presentation of the paintings:

Before the unveiling, Mr. Chris Spencer briefly outlined the thought which prompted the execution of the pictures, declaring he hoped they would serve as a pictorial representation to the rising generation of the part which British Columbia has played in the history of the Dominion.

The second president of UBC, Dr. Leonard S. Klinck spoke about the spirit of the gesture, and Rev. J. Williams Ogden, an artist himself, also gave a few words of appreciation in a concluding speech.

Between these two articles, I’ve put together titles for all 10 paintings. The first group includes 3 historical scenes all set in the year 1792:

  1. Captain Vancouver Exploring Burrard Inlet
  2. Ships of Spain off Point Grey
  3. Captain Vancouver’s Ships at Nootka or
    Captain Vancouver Saluting the Spanish Fort at Nootka

    The second group deals with exploration and trade:

  4. Mackenzie Menaced by Indians at Bella Coola
  5. Simon Fraser’s Canoes Descending the Fraser River
  6. Trading with the Indians at Fort Victoria, 1845

    The third group pays homage to British Columbia’s pioneering industries:

  7. Pioneer Agriculture
  8. Pioneer Fishing
  9. Pioneer Logging
  10. Pioneer Mining

In the absence of showing all 10 murals here, I’ve included 2 drawings from John Innes’ 1926 series of ads for Shelly’s Bread which featured over 50 scenes from British Columbia’s history. These ads ran in newspapers throughout the year, and fortunately, the Vancouver Archives possesses a complete set of these ads in this treasure trove of a scrapbook, donated by the North Shore Museum and Archives in 1987.

Perhaps by now you have an idea how hard it is to piece together the details surrounding this series of murals when the murals themselves no longer appear to exist. With no clear documented chronology, it’s hard to know where to begin. That’s why I was extraordinarily excited when I found the 1936 Golden Jubilee anniversary brochure, featuring a COLOUR image of Captain Vancouver Exploring Burrard Inlet! The brochure states:

This painting, Captain Vancouver Exploring Burrard Inlet—1792, is one of a series of six, depicting memorable scenes in the early history of British Columbia, specially commissioned by David Spencer Limited, and hangs with its companion pictures in the Vancouver branch of this pioneer British Columbia company.

Having found ONE of the 10 paintings in colour, I was now determined to find more! The hunt was on to track down more evidence of these long lost murals! I started asking everyone I knew! This led me to the All Nations Stamp and Coin store in the Dunbar neighbourhood on the off chance that they might know something. Sure enough, they DID know something—the original solid wooden cabinets from the Spencer’s store have been re-purposed in this very store! (unfortunately, they knew nothing about the murals). Hot on the trail, I was hungry for more, and I was not about to give up! But alas, time is running out! This story will continue with a followup post soon! Stay tuned!

ps: Note to the Vancouver Archives: after close scrutiny, it seems to me that at some point in time, one of the photographs in the archives has been mislabeled. Captain Vancouver’s ship Chatham should in fact be called the Ships of Spain off Point Grey, based on the following: 

  1. There never was a painting called Captain Vancouver’s ship Chatham in this series.
  2. The large cross on the sail looks characteristically more Spanish than British. While it’s true that both British and Spanish ships were known to use a red cross, the British were more likely to display the cross of St. George, whereas a ship in the Spanish Armada would be more inclined to display a variation of the Templar cross.
  3. The flag at the top of the mast does not appear to be the Union Jack. Even without seeing the painting in colour, the flag more closely resembles the Spanish flag—two bands of red and a band of yellow in the centre.
  4. There is one other possible title for this painting; it could be Captain Vancouver’s Ships at Nootka / Captain Vancouver Saluting the Spanish Fort at Nootka. However, looking at the surrounding geography, my educated guess says this scene is depicting the North Shore Mountains and not the landscape at Nootka.

1924 UBC Yearbook Comic by Bain, McLean, Pollock, & Co., shown courtesy of Neil Whaley. This was my favourite comic from the early UBC yearbooks, and while at first I thought it was a playful gag to superimpose students into the construction of the Science Building, I’ve learned from the 1923 yearbook post that the students ACTUALLY DID assist with the construction of the university! So this drawing takes on a whole new historical significance! Can YOU spot your grandfather in this image?!

Bonus: Watch the story of BC Higher Education here.

As a followup to Tuesday’s post, here is another comic from page 42 of the 1923 UBC Yearbook. This one features an unknown downtown Vancouver intersection filled with Photoshopped students attached to cartoon bodies. Note the jokes about alcoholic beverages (BC had repealed prohibition in 1921); the bar at bottom left has been relabeled “Soft Drinks” and across the street, above the Police Station is a billboard for “Cascade Garters, Always Falling; the Gear without a Peer” (see a beer ad with similar slogan). The comic is by “Meadows” and dated 1924.

Also added for good measure, an ad for REO Motors from page 5 of the same yearbook.

The 1923 UBC Yearbook, with a rather political cartoon titled Student Floats - Point Grey Pilgrimage from 1922 by someone named Homish or Hamish (his full name probably appears somewhere in this yearbook). This comic pokes fun at the future class of ‘26, who will no doubt be packed like sardines in the Fairview Campus. This was before construction of UBC at Point Grey was completed, and students upset with the lack of progress took their discontent to the streets. From UBC:

The increasing hardships in conducting classes at Fairview prompted UBC students to solicit public support through a petition to encourage the provincial government to resume work at Point Grey. A.M.S. president Ab Richards headed a “Build the University” campaign beginning in the Spring of 1922. An Executive Committee consisting of Richards, R.L. McLeod, J.V. Clyne, Betty Somerset, Marjorie Agnew, Jack Grant, Aubrey Roberts, Al Buchanan, Percy Barr and Alumni Association president John Allardyce coordinated the student activities…

The activities of the week culminated in a pilgrimage to Point Grey now known as the Great Trek. On October 28th almost 1,200 students with floats, bands and banners marched through downtown Vancouver and on to the Point Grey campus.

Arriving late in the afternoon, the students climbed the concrete stairs of the Science Building and hung their banners on the exposed girders. The students then formed a living “U B C” on the ground as a symbolic gesture to lay claim to the unfinished campus. The pilgrimage ended with the dedication of the cairn which still stands in front of the Chemistry Building. The students threw stones in the hollow centre of the structure which had been designed by the university architects and built from rocks gathered on the campus site. It was somehow fitting that the students completed the first structure at Point Grey. Richards expressed the hope that “very soon around this pile of rock, buildings will rise and a university be established which will bring credit to our Alma Mater and renown to the province.”

I showed you my favourite Vancouver high school yearbook of all time; this is probably my favourite University yearbook of all time! I’ll show another cartoon from 1923 soon, and then more from 1924 too! Thanks to Neil Whaley for this great artifact!

Bonus: Watch the story of BC Higher Education here.

UBC Library Building Plans by architects Sharp & Thompson (later known as Thompson, Berwick, Pratt & Partners). Actually, I came across these drawings via a brochure titled Scrapbook for a Golden Anniversary, the University of British Columbia Library, 1915-1965. It was there I learned that this drawing I posted 11 months ago was by the first UBC librarian John Ridington. The brochure featured a negative image of the Periodical Room, and added the comment “It was never built”. I came across the rest of the blueprints from the UBC archives here.

Untitled glass artwork at SFU Harbour Centre by Mary Filer and Harold Spence-Sales, dedicated to the university on May 27, 1990. A year later, both by Mary Filer and Harold Spence-Sales would receive honorary doctorates for their contributions to the arts. Harold Spence-Sales was the Professor of Architecture at McGill University, from 1946 to 1970. He passed away in 2004 at the age of 96. In an article in the Canadian Journal of Urban Research, Jeanne M. Wolfe wrote:

He also pioneered the conversion of old industrial buildings for living and studio space. His first residence in Vancouver was one such building, ironically expropriated for building the skytrain route. His second, the old Purdy chocolate factory, a dull box covering almost all the lot, was converted by cutting an atrium into it and building a belvedere on the roof, along with gardens everywhere. Seeing these buildings makes it hard to believe that concepts such as recycling, live/work, and green roofs have taken so long to be recognized as sound practice.

During the later period of his life, Spence-Sales spent more and more time on art, often in collaboration with his wife, the renowned glass artist Mary Filer. Together they fashioned many installation pieces, Mary laminating multihued glass in architectural forms, and Harold providing backdrop detail, often evoking landscape.

A letter of recommendation for Harold Spence-Sales on file at McGill, dated 1941, describes him as “a spirited young man. He is an excellent draughtsman and colourist. He has a broad outlook and an attractive manner.” A candidate who more than fulfilled his promise: he left his imprint from coast to coast.

The book Public Art in Vancouver: Angels Among Lions by John Steil and Aileen Stalker mentions that the centre panel suggests the layout of the SFU campus at Burnaby Mountain. The panel to the left is most obviously UBC campus, although ironically, it didn’t jump out at me until I looked at the picture! (I think this has something to do with the large scale of the map. Furthermore, the sight of such a fine map of the competing university across town is certainly unexpected!). The panel at right illustrating an urban and rural layout may or may not be somewhere specific. If we’re sticking to geographical accuracy, it is perhaps somewhere between Burnaby and the Fraser Valley? Anyone spot any clues?

UPDATE! I think it is a relatively good guess to speculate that this third panel on the right represents Abbotsford, and the University of Fraser Valley. Here’s a Google map of the area. That would be consistent with the subject matter of the previous two panels; UBC and SFU. I don’t know if the artist ever spoke at length about the work, but I kind of feel like I’ve just cracked the da Vinci code or something!

Empire Pool at UBC illustrated by Paul Dwillies. Another page from the souvenir program for the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954, seen previously here, printed by Jey Studios Ltd in Vancouver. The booklet also featured illustrations by Steve Liszkowski, Rod Garrett, Glenn Startup, and Bob Johnson, with lettering by Ed Harrison. Bob Johnson was also the art director. This brochure was also mentioned in the BC150 Applied Arts virtual museum at Emily Carr University back in 2008.

University of British Columbia Campus by James Hill, another grand Maclean’s magazine cover image from the 1950s. Published March 31, 1956, it depicts the hustle and bustle of the end of the school year, but could just as easily be applied to the end of the fall semester. This blog post (and comment stream) is a testament to his career, and an impressive body of his illustrations can be seen in this photoset.
James Hill shares an honour with Franklin Arbuckle, the previous Maclean’s illustrator that I featured here; both were recipients of CAPIC lifetime achievement awards. Because I can’t seem to find mention of these awards on the CAPIC website (faux pas!), I’m going to include the first 10 recipients of the CAPIC lifetime achievement awards below, sourced here:

1986 - Franklin Arbuckle1987 - Clarence Gagnon1988 - Oscar Cahén1989 - James Hill & C.W. Jefferys (recipient of the Ivor Sharp Award for Posthumous Achievement) Interesting side note: Ivor Sharp was the founder of CAPIC and happened to take this rather famous photo of John & Yoko; Ivor died of a stroke in 1989. 1990 - Will Davies1991 - Don Anderson1992 - Tom Bjarnason1993 - Lewis Parker1994 - Ken Dallison1995 - Gerald Lazare

I’ve linked to 4 of the recipients above who have pages on wikipedia currently; the others can be found on the Index of Canadian Illustrators, an incredible resource administrated by friend and art compadre Jaleen Grove.
I’m also pleased see that James Hill’s daughter Amanda Hill has a Vancouver connection to the art world. She studied at Basic Inquiry right here in Vancouver in 1997, and then headed to Toronto where she has since exhibited her paintings over the last decade, winning numerous awards along the way. The family legacy continues.

University of British Columbia Campus by James Hill, another grand Maclean’s magazine cover image from the 1950s. Published March 31, 1956, it depicts the hustle and bustle of the end of the school year, but could just as easily be applied to the end of the fall semester. This blog post (and comment stream) is a testament to his career, and an impressive body of his illustrations can be seen in this photoset.

James Hill shares an honour with Franklin Arbuckle, the previous Maclean’s illustrator that I featured here; both were recipients of CAPIC lifetime achievement awards. Because I can’t seem to find mention of these awards on the CAPIC website (faux pas!), I’m going to include the first 10 recipients of the CAPIC lifetime achievement awards below, sourced here:

1986 - Franklin Arbuckle
1987 - Clarence Gagnon
1988 - Oscar Cahén
1989 - James Hill & C.W. Jefferys (recipient of the Ivor Sharp Award for Posthumous Achievement) Interesting side note: Ivor Sharp was the founder of CAPIC and happened to take this rather famous photo of John & Yoko; Ivor died of a stroke in 1989.
1990 - Will Davies
1991 - Don Anderson
1992 - Tom Bjarnason
1993 - Lewis Parker
1994 - Ken Dallison
1995 - Gerald Lazare

I’ve linked to 4 of the recipients above who have pages on wikipedia currently; the others can be found on the Index of Canadian Illustrators, an incredible resource administrated by friend and art compadre Jaleen Grove.

I’m also pleased see that James Hill’s daughter Amanda Hill has a Vancouver connection to the art world. She studied at Basic Inquiry right here in Vancouver in 1997, and then headed to Toronto where she has since exhibited her paintings over the last decade, winning numerous awards along the way. The family legacy continues.

Real Estate in British Columbia, a pamphlet by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia, 1971. Cover illustration of the Henry Angus building at UBC by C de Witt. I’m not certain if this is the original architectural rendering; perhaps UBC Special Collections has records which can reveal more.

Real Estate in British Columbia, a pamphlet by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia, 1971. Cover illustration of the Henry Angus building at UBC by C de Witt. I’m not certain if this is the original architectural rendering; perhaps UBC Special Collections has records which can reveal more.

Newton Wynd, a 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas by Ken West.

Newton Wynd, a 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas by Ken West.

Museum of Anthropology, 18x14 watercolor on paper by Sandrine Pelissier, from 195 Studios in North Vancouver; more work at watercolorpainting.ca.

Museum of Anthropology, 18x14 watercolor on paper by Sandrine Pelissier, from 195 Studios in North Vancouver; more work at watercolorpainting.ca.

Sketch of the UBC library, west face, artist unknown, 1928, image HP023442 courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives. Still looking the pretty much the same many decades later.
UPDATE! I have determined who the artist was! It was none other than the first librarian at UBC, John Ridington! This was determined from the front cover of a brochure produced by the library, which was titled Scrapbook for a Golden Anniversary, the University of British Columbia Library, 1915-1965. He gets the cover for the cover art, and the byline “Sketching was one of his many hobbies”. From the UBC blogs:

John Ridington was UBC’s first University Librarian. A former journalist and teacher, he started work on the library collection in August 1914 when UBC was in its temporary home at West 10th Avenue and Laurel Street (the Fairview Shacks).  By 1916, he had been appointed University Librarian, a position he remained in until his retirement at the age of 72 in April 1940. According to information gathered by the UBC Archives, Ridington was known as a rigid authoritarian and was nicknamed ‘King John’.

Hail, King John! A fine piece of work you’ve done here!

Sketch of the UBC library, west face, artist unknown, 1928, image HP023442 courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives. Still looking the pretty much the same many decades later.

UPDATE! I have determined who the artist was! It was none other than the first librarian at UBC, John Ridington! This was determined from the front cover of a brochure produced by the library, which was titled Scrapbook for a Golden Anniversary, the University of British Columbia Library, 1915-1965. He gets the cover for the cover art, and the byline “Sketching was one of his many hobbies”. From the UBC blogs:

John Ridington was UBC’s first University Librarian. A former journalist and teacher, he started work on the library collection in August 1914 when UBC was in its temporary home at West 10th Avenue and Laurel Street (the Fairview Shacks).  By 1916, he had been appointed University Librarian, a position he remained in until his retirement at the age of 72 in April 1940. According to information gathered by the UBC Archives, Ridington was known as a rigid authoritarian and was nicknamed ‘King John’.

Hail, King John! A fine piece of work you’ve done here!